FN 5.7x28mm Getting NATO Specification – What’s Next for the Cartridge?

The fan-favorite 5.7x28mm is going full NATO. (Photo: FN America/Facebook)

FN America is pleased to announce that NATO is standardizing the FN 5.7x28mm cartridge. The 5.7mm NATO cartridge will join ranks with the popular and widely used 5.56mm, 7.62mm, 9mm, and 12.7mm NATO cartridges.

“The caliber was designed in the late 1980s for use with the FN P90 and FN Five-Seven pistol,” FN said in the release. “With almost three decades of trusted use, the FN 5.7x28mm continues to leverage the groundbreaking design to improve range, accuracy and terminal performance from small arms.”

“As NATO adds the FN 5.7x28mm to their standard small caliber ammunition portfolio, FN proudly continues its long legacy of small arm innovation as it enhances service to civilians, law enforcement, and militaries across the globe,” the company stated.

“This new NATO standardization confirms FN Herstal’s leading position as a designer and manufacturer of small caliber weapon-ammunition systems,” FN said. “It also reinforces the company’s strategy and dedication to provide modern-day armed forces and security forces all across the world with the best performing and efficient small caliber ammunition concepts and designs.”

Does this mean something new for 5.7mm NATO? (Photo: FN America/Facebook)

This does raise questions, including why 5.7mm, and why now? The simplest explanation is that there are enough NATO users that it only makes sense to go through the STANAG process and make the cartridge official.

Fans of 5.7x28mm would even argue that this is overdue. But could there be more to this decision?

Many military leaders are concerned about the growing availability of low-cost body armor, and while there are current and upcoming specialty cartridges that can defeat them, they’re mostly for intermediate cartridges and more powerful rifle cartridges.

One possibility is that some militaries are looking back at the 5.7x28mm cartridge, which was designed around defeating some body armors. While body armor technology has improved since the invention of the 5.7mm cartridge, so have projectile designs, which could make it much more relevant today.

See Also: FN’s Newest Competition Pistol for the ‘Edge’

This is especially true with the recent resurgence in submachine gun use by many armed forces. As a handgun round, 5.7mm loses some of its effectiveness, but for its original use, in personal defense weapons like the P90, it becomes much more impressive.

In any case, this should mean increased production of the sometimes hard-to-find, sometimes a little expensive cartridge, and that’s always a good thing.

Especially with other companies starting to produce firearms chambered for the cartridge. Notably, both Keltec and Ruger recently launched conventional and large-format pistols chambered for 5.7x28mm.

Do you think this is a sign of new things to come in 5.7x28mm NATO? Or is this an outstanding confirmation of the cartridge’s obvious excellence? Let us know in the comments!

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

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  • SeaHunt March 7, 2021, 9:46 am

    i have been using the p90/5n7 since it was first issued to me in the 90’s, we were one of the first trial units to use them and it wad a huge success! i still own each today and i also have the luxury/choice to carry the 5n7 on duty and it has never let me down but has put others down!! i also buy ammo in huge lots when priced right but as of late it too has been scarce so i am hope for no major gun fights any time soon….

  • Rollin L March 5, 2021, 4:56 pm

    This is excellent news. I have no opinion to share on the effectiveness of the 5.7 x 28 round, and will leave that for others to debate. But I have become a fan of the P90/PS90 series after having begun to familiarize myself with them. At this point, the potential for ammunition to be produced in greater quantity and (in conjunction with the end of the current ammo shortages) become less expensive is something I am glad to see. I’m all for making this round more standardized and available.

  • Scott W Syverson March 5, 2021, 1:49 pm

    Why now, why this cartridge? It appears NATO is looking to re-evaluate its needs for secondary armaments for non-front line soldiers. In WWII, the U.S. issued .30 cal carbines to truck drivers, tankers, and cooks alike. The concept of a pistol cartridge carbine is not new and fills a needed niche between main battle armament and pistols. With the consolidation of pistol calibers at 9mm, such rounds like Colt .45 ACP are not in focus as submachine gun or pistol caliber carbines. The FN 5.7 x 28mm offers the ability to defeat body armor at 100 yds gives secondary battle units and persons reasonable self-protection capabilities. This round should not be confused with a main battle cartridge, which it is not, but has good potential as an intermediate weapon caliber for support personnel.

  • Zupglick March 5, 2021, 11:53 am

    The 5.7 and P90 is good for it’s intended purpose.
    Door kicking. Urban warfare.

  • mrpski March 5, 2021, 11:47 am

    Having an effective round and the weapon to shoot this ammo in the safe is like having some gold in your portfolio. You might not need it but if you do they are goth worth their weight and value

  • Bad Penny March 5, 2021, 10:33 am

    I am under impressed with the 5.7 cartridge but all long as its used in the narrow parameter it is designed for it will do the job. Although its supposed to be a 200 meter rifle round I seriously doubt it will retain the needed velocity past 100 meters to inflect serious injury to a bad guy. Small rounds depend on velocity to inflict damage. For a small person who is recoil adverse this would be a perfect round for them but the lake of velocity out of a pistol seriously downgrades its effectiveness.

  • Barrett March 5, 2021, 9:26 am

    I’ve been using this cartridge in PS90 and 2 FN handguns for over a decade. I purchased my ammunition when it’s on sale. The last buy was 20 cases of SS198 [Maroon box] @ $986.00! 2,000 round cases! When using common sense, not buying during an ammunition shortage, this is no more expensive than .308. The ability to use 5.7×28 in carry handguns and bullpup Carbine is an extremely comfortable feeling. I would add that I can’t even imagine the FN as a ‘concealed carry’. I carry in a double shoulder holster or a cross draw. Fortunately for me, open carry is very common where I live, although with all of the California people moving in, this will probably change. I’m almost 70, and a slight tremor in my hands, so I’m not capable of any long distance shooting so the 100 yard round is perfect in a rifle.

    • Mark March 5, 2021, 10:58 am

      Would love to know how you bought 20…2000rd cases and i can’t even buy a box of 50.

      • Brad March 6, 2021, 11:01 am

        Several years ago PSA was selling it for $14.99/box. 40 boxes x $15/box= $600/2,000 case.

  • Michael Klaus March 5, 2021, 6:42 am

    I’ll start with; I love this little round, It’s fast, lightweight, and fills a niche.
    After that, Not only are weapons that shoot it expensive, the ammo is ALWAYS, not sometimes expensive and not everywhere. Why does a pistol in this caliber cost $200-$300 more than a standard caliber of same stature? Hype and gimmick I suspect. Until I hit the Lotto, or inherit a pile of $, I won’t be in the club…

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